By Steve Rizer
How has version four (v4) of the Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) green building certification system fared since its formal launch a year ago? Has LEED v4 met expectations? Upon delivering a presentation at Greenbuild 2014 about his experience overseeing the third LEED Existing Buildings Operations and Maintenance project certified under the new version, Michael Alexander, senior project manager for Cassidy Turley, offered a candid assessment of LEED v4’s performance to date.
“I think v4 has fared pretty well and to date has stood up to market criticisms, and the industry is slowly starting to understand the impacts v4 has on projects, but I would say that from the USGBC [U.S. Green Building Council] standpoint, my guess is it has not met their expectations,” Alexander, who gave a presentation entitled “LEED v4 Certification: A New Experience” late last month at the Greenbuild International Conference and Exposition in New Orleans, told ConstructionPro Week. “I think the USGBC was hoping for greater adoption of v4 by now and that building owners would be more excited about pursuing the more stringent level of certification.”
Alexander believes “there has not been as much discussion on the value of pursuing a certification in the newer LEED version versus achieving a higher level of certification in an older version, such as achieving Gold level in the v3 [LEED 2009] certification may not mean as much as a Silver in the v4 certification. To make v4 win, the marketing will need to show the value of v4 over an easier, less stringent v3 certification.”
In an interesting note, USGBC last week announced that it will allow LEED users to register projects under the LEED 2009 rating system through October of 2016. The original date for LEED 2009 registration to close was June 15 of next year. USGBC made the decision after a survey conducted at Greenbuild indicated that 61 percent of responding attendees said they are “not ready” or “unsure” whether they are ready to pursue LEED v4 and need additional time to prepare. The organization stressed that LEED v4 will remain to be available for those market leaders who are ready.
The ConstructionPro Network member version of this article includes additional comments from Alexander, more details about the LEED v4 extension, and some of the green building features of five projects that are at least pre-certified for the LEED v4 designation.